Vidal converts contentious penalty to ease past Bolivia

FOXBOROUGH (Massachussetts) • Arturo Vidal scored a controversial penalty deep into injury time as holders Chile snatched a dramatic 2-1 victory over Bolivia to keep their Copa America Centenario campaign alive on Friday.

The Bayern Munich player struck from the spot in the 10th minute of time added on after a hugely debatable penalty was awarded against Bolivian defender Luis Gutierrez for handball by United States referee Jair Marrufo.

Television replays showed that Gutierrez had his right arm behind his back to avoid conceding a handball but Alexis Sanchez's cross struck him on the shoulder and Marrufo pointed to the spot after the apparent intervention of the linesman.

Bolivia's players surrounded the referee to protest angrily, but Marrufo's decision stood and it was left to Vidal to drive home the penalty.

The result gives Chile hope of reaching the last eight following their opening defeat by Argentina in Group D.

Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi brushed off questions about his team's fortuitous penalty, insisting that they had deserved to win.

"Sometimes decisions go for you, sometimes against you. They balance out. But we deserved to win," he said.

Vidal admitted he doubted whether the penalty should have been given but claimed it was compensation.

"They missed a clear handball earlier in the game, so it balanced things," the midfielder said.

Bolivia coach Julio Cesar Baldivieso decried the spot-kick as a "disgrace" and also questioned how match officials had determined that more than eight minutes of added time should be played.

"It's a disgrace what they've done," he fumed. "It really hurts to lose that way. I'd ask you to analyse the video and tell me where those eight minutes of injury time came from."

Earlier, a stunning 61st minute free kick from Kuwait-based playmaker Jhasmani Campos appeared to have given Bolivia a share of the points at Gillette Stadium after Vidal had given Chile the lead just after half-time.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 12, 2016, with the headline 'Vidal converts contentious penalty to ease past Bolivia'. Print Edition | Subscribe